20th Century Jewelry

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Aurora Borealis

The Aurora Borealis-stone is a Crystal stone with a special metal coating. The stone shows all the colours of the Rainbow depending on how it is being held. This crystal stone was introduced on the Market by Manfred Swarovski in 1955.

Aventurine glass

Aventurine glass is glass with small pieces of copper in it, which gives it a special glare. This technique was applied around 1700 for the first time in Venice, Italy.

Baguette cut

Faceted oblong and rectangular crystal/glass.


A Blackamoor is a figurine of a proud black man or woman with often white facial features. This type of jewelry always exists out of a head or a head with shoulders. Usually made of carved ebony or black painted material with bright contrasting coloured ornaments such as hair, ties and earrings. Inspired by the Oriental, a lot of protective qualities were ascribed to this type of jewelry. For this reason, a Blackamoor was often used as an amulet against the evil act. In the 19th century they were very expensive and sought after jewels of the rich.

Cabachon cut

A quite smooth polished stone with a convex oval or round shape without facets.

Cameo en Intaglio

There are two kinds of coupages of a gemstone: Intaglio, where the image is engraved in the stone and sunk and Cameo, where portions of the stone are removed so that an increased image remains.


Faceted stone in the shape of an inverted cone.


This is a Chaton but without colour.

Doublé, Amerik of Rolled Gold

Gold plating is produced industrially only since the beginning of the 20th century. The amount of gold used in the plating is stated exactly like with gold alloys in 1000 parts. Thus the specification 10/000 Milliém Doublé points out the fact that for the production of 1 kg of material at least 10 g of fine gold (in alloyed form) was processed.

Kind of plating                                 Milliém-range

Amerikaner Doublé (AMD of Amerik)     10/000 tot 20/000

Charnier Doublé                                 20/000 tot 25/000

Union Doublé                                     40/000 tot 20/000

All gold plating always consist of alloys, never of pure gold, because it has only limited conductivity and can be therefore not electrolytically applied. The thickness of the plating is stated in Milliém (manner of writing, e.g.: 10/000). This means, a gold plated chain which weighs, for example, 100 g and possesses a plating of 40/000 Milliém, consists of 4 g of fine gold.

Early Plastics like Lucite, Celluloid, Bakelite, Acetate and Thermoset

 Plastics were introduced in the years prior to the 1950s. Celluloid, already discovered in 1872, was mainly used as material for imitations of natural materials such as ivory and tortoiseshell. Bakelite was invented in 1905, a discovery of the Belgian chemist Leo Back moose. When the patent on it expired in 1927, all sorts of plastics came on the market. Plastics were in abundance during the 1950s, it was even used for ladies handbags. Just before the Second World War, transparent plastics as ' Plexiglas ', ' Lucite ', "Thermoset" and ' Acetate ' came on the market, which were frequently used by the fashion industry.


Enamel is a glassy substance (powdered glass with dyes) that by the use of heat to the metal is melted. The powder melts, flows, and then hardens to a smooth, durable  vitreous coating on metal.

Emerald cut

Faceted glass/crystal at different heights in an oblong or square shape; you could also say an octagonal shape. In this style of grinding is more important that the colour of the stone the best Justice instead of the brilliance of the stone.

French Jet

French Jet is black glass that imitates the natural material Jet. It is often faceted cut. 

Givré stone

Stone made of transparent glass on to a transparent core. Givré means in French Frosted. So the stone has a frosted effect. 


Glass is a strange, almost magical material. It is hard, glossy and transparent and in many ways to process. Stained glass is obtained by mixing raw materials with certain minerals or chemicals. Blue and green, for example, formed by the addition of cobalt or copper compounds. Cobalt is no longer in use because it is a toxic substance. Only copper compounds are still used. Red and lilac glass is the result of a mixture with gold. Glass objects in these colours are therefore usually slightly more expensive. 

Gold filled

Gold filled is a term that comes from America. Gold filled jewelry alias "Rolled Gold" are composed of a solid layer of gold that uses heat and pressure to connect it with base metal such as brass. 14 k Gold filled jewelry contains roughly a 50 to 100 times thicker gold layer than a gold plated ornament. It looks  nd wears like gold. Some high-quality gold-filled pieces have the outer, lustre, and the beauty of 14 Carat (58%) gold. Under normal circumstances, it stays that way for a lifetime. By definition, the karat gold layer on an object stamped GF must be at least 1/20 of the total weight of the object. 1/20 12kt GF is the most common stamp found on gold filled jewelry.

Semiprecious gemstones

A semiprecious gemstone is a mineral that does not belong to the four groups of precious gemstones (diamond, Ruby, Sapphire or emerald). Like precious gems they have a specific hardness and light refraction. Semi-precious stones are often cut in facet shape to benefit the glare and are very valuable in this form and are often used in jewelry.

Japanned metal

Japanned metal is metal modified with carbon or tar derivatives to get the material matte black.

Imitation pearls

Imitation pearls are round shaped glass or plastic beads with a layer of isinglass or plastic around it. Imitation pearls are light weight and made  in all possible, especially trendy colours created and painted.


A lot of the Crystal beads and stones come from Austria and the Czech Republic. Glass which has been added lead to some extent may be called crystal. According to the European regulation Crystal must contain more than ten per cent lead oxide. If it contains more than 30 per cent lead, it is very high
quality crystal. Crystal is made like glass, but with a different composition of raw materials. These raw materials are heated to ca. 1500 degrees Celsius and the result is a liquid mass. Crystal, however, is softer than glass and easier to process. It shines and glitters beautifully and has its own special brilliance.
See also ' Swarovski Crystal ' and ' Rhinestones and Strass '.


Marcasite’s are natural stones (iron pyrite) with a fantastic Golden glint. The material was already used in the sixteenth century: marcasite’s-decorate the doors of the Inca stones Temple of the Sun. In the Costume Jewelry marcasite’s are often used in silver jewelry.


Faceted stones in the shape of an oval where both sides end in a point. Also called “Marquise cut".

Pavé set

A technique in which the entire underlying material or a part thereof is tiled (= pavé) with stones that are placed in small holes.

Rhinestones and Strass

Glass or Crystal cut glass stones. Originally Rhinestones were mountain crystals, which came from the river Rhine. In 1775, the jeweller Georg Friedrich Strass had the idea to imitate diamonds by covering the bottom of a Crystal stone with metal powder. That is the reason that in many European countries Rhinestones are called Strass. Swarovski-Crystal and Rhinestones are world famous for their unique colours and beautiful cuts. See also “Crystal” and “Swarovski Crystal”'.


Rhodium is one of the high-quality Platinum metals (a group of 13 metals). Rhodinated jewelry have layer of rhodium. It is used on metal and silver jewelry. Rhodium has a bright silver appearance and it does not get corroded.


A Rondelle is a round slice, which is often used as a connection bead.

Swarovski stones

The best quality crystal is used for Swarovski stones (approximately 32% lead). The higher the percentage of lead, the better the stone can be cut in facets and the better the stone shines. Like the Aurora Borealis stones these stones have often a metal coating at the back of the stone. The stones were  introduced in 1955 by Manfred Swarovski. See also “” Crystal” and “Rhinestones” and “Strass”.


Silver is a soft, white, natural material, which, like gold belongs to the group of precious metals. Silver does not get corroded and does not perishes. That makes it very sustainable. In addition, silver is easy to process because it is a soft metal. Unlike gold, silver is rarely found in its purest form. Usually silver is found in connection with non-precious metals such as lead and copper. This mixture is modified by separating the silver from other metals. Silver is mined in mines in Canada, the United States, South America and Australia.

Sterling Silver

The shine of silver makes it a popular metal for jewelry making. Usually the first and second grade silver is used. First grade silver (925/1000) is an alloy of 92.5% Silver and 7.5% copper. In some English-speaking countries, the term Sterling is used. Sterling Silver is the highest-grade silver.

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